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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
The Chicano Novel (Part I)
Program #
1977-29
Theme:
Culture

Series:
Literature
Host:
Alejandro Saenz
Guest:
Ramón Saldívar
Date:
Jun 29, 1977

The Chicano Novel (Part I)

Dr. Ramon Saldivar discusses some of the characteristics of the Chicano Novel. Saldivar locates the Chicano novel in the tradition of European novels, but adds specifically it is an experimental novel, in which different national genres (Mexican and American) are combined to create a new style. Saldivar argues that scholars who characterize the protaganist of the chicano novel as an antihero do so because he is often a disadvantaged outsider. Yet, most Chicanos are underprivileged and outsiders in mainstream society and so Saldivar believes the protaganist represents the conditions and experiences of most Chicanos. In doing so, the novel comments critically on society and its values. For example, the novel Pocho questions the relationship between Chicanos and the Church, their place in the Anglo community and ultimately what it means to be a man.

Saldivar explains that novels often reflect general trends in the community in which they are written. As such, as the Chicano community has struggled to define itself in the United States, so has the literature and self-defintion is one of its major themes. Saldivar goes on to say that the novel has become more politicized in recent years and thus reflects the emergence of the Chicano Movement. Saldivar concludes that Mexican art and literature is flourishing in the 1970s.

 

Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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